This is a question I get asked quite frequently when individuals ask me about nutrition and exercise plans. In practice, I don't just adjust. I think it is very frequently is a good start. But adjustments do not cure everything. They are not the end all be all to healthcare. Total body health takes a total body method.
Nutrition and exercise are vital. I know this isn't a huge surprise to anyone, but it has to be said. So inevitably when a patient asks, "but what do you do?", I'm honest.
Now before I divulge my own health regimen, I will give you the same spiel I give my patients. Every person is different. Their goals, dietary needs, pre-existing health conditions, tastes, and likes and dislikes are all different therefore, their health plan should be as well. What I do wouldn't be best for everyone- it is simply what I have found to be best for me. Before you modify your health plan, it is best to consult a doctor that feels comfortable giving you that advice.
Personally, I mostly follow the Mediterranean Diet.
If you've never heard of this diet, the basics are that you always eat breakfast, you eat mostly plant based (fruits and veggies), you eat some meats (ensuring to include seafood at least once), some dairy (feta, Greek yogurt, etc.), limit breads and sweets (but don't have to cut them out altogether), and cook in olive oil. For me, this is a happy middle ground.
I absolutely adore this diet for a variety of reasons. For starters, it has so many benefits. Research suggests that this diet aids in the prevention of strokes, heart disease, type II diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, joint degeneration, overall fatigue, bloating, and mind "fogginess". It also helps heal muscle damage, promotes brain health, nervous system health, as well as gut/digestion health which is linked to decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety.
It is also one of the only diets that research shows you can mostly follow and still get most of the benefits. Basically, you don't have to be perfect to get results. Unlike other diets, a few slip ups won't drive you down a path of hopelessness because the diet itself isn't based upon the premise of perfection. A good example of this is the ever so popular keto diet. Now, I am not here to hate on keto but, unlike a ton of resources would like you to believe, it isn't for everyone.
Another reason I love the Mediterranean Diet is because, quite frankly, I love the food, flavors, and meal plan. This is always something you should consider when looking into different diets. If you don't enjoy it- you won't stick to it. It's that simple. You have to be honest with yourself about if the diet endeavor you are about to embark on is something you can live with permanently because it isn't enough to just reach your health goals; you also have to be able to maintain them.
Personally, I enjoy eating copious amounts of fruits and veggies but I don't want to be vegetarian. I still like some bread and meat- I just don't want a ton of it. I love their dips, flavors, fish, you name it. I mean seriously, what does feta cheese NOT taste good on? And intermittent fasting is NOT for me. Breakfast is a must because my attitude reflects my diet (just ask my poor husband).
Also, I love sweets. Always have. Always will. I love baking them, sharing them, eating them, and the smell they leave in my house. If you'd guess that there isn't a constant dish of baked goods on my counter then you, my friend, would be incorrect. That being said, for me to ever say that I will 100% give up sugar is a boldface lie that will lead me to failure. Kuddos to those who can cut it out altogether but I needed a diet that could give me some wiggle room. It's about moderation not perfection.
This has changed dramatically over the years based on what my current goals were at the time. When I used to do competitive cheerleading, I lifted a lot of light weights with only a bit of heavy weights, focused on balance and flexibility, and did A LOT of cardio. When I transitioned into sideline only I did less cardio and less heavy weights.
Now that I don't cheer anymore it is mostly a lot of free body and light weight workouts with a TON of balance and flexibility. I will occasionally mix in some running but much less so now that I live back in Michigan opposed to when I was in Florida. You won't catch me running on any icy, snowy roads! Haha. I do like to ice skate though!
Basically what I am getting at is that now I do what I enjoy. I have no specific goals at the moment other than to keep moving and being healthy. Sometimes I crave an intense cardio workout or a gymnastics workout with tumbling- so that is what I will do that day. Sometimes I need like a need to focus on flexibility and balance so that will take priority.
Regardless of my goals at the time I don't separate my workouts by body region. I know many exercise professionals will not agree with this method and I will agree it is not for everyone but it is what I have found to be best for me. What I mean by this is I don't have "leg day", "arm day", etc. You won't find me just focusing on my core or chest. It's whole body every time. The important thing I want to highlight though is that I am not lifting heavy weights or pushing my body to the brink with every workout. Not only does that not fit my goals, but working out this way, total body, every day would cause far too much damage. Again, health needs to be personalized.
If you ever have any questions about anything I post, feel free to post, comment, or message me!
Have a beautiful day,